their ratio to live births. These officially reported figures, however, are estimated to represent only one third to one half of the actual number of abortions performed (8). Figure 2 shows the number of legal abortions per 1,000 live births between 1949 and 1965 for several areas. Although insufficient data preclude ascer- 1000 800 ~f*vK —*, - DENMARK SWEDEN CZECHOSLOVAKIA NEWYORK *•«. CITY "*x Figure 2. Abortion ratio per 1,000 live births, legal for countries, therapeutic for New York City. Sources: Japan, Table 2; Chile, Table 3; New York City, Table 16; European countries, Table 17.not available for the prewar period, it does seem evident that abortion was never absent from the natality scene in Japan. Before 1948, it appears that a less spectacular incidence of abortion, together with contraceptive efforts, was responsible for keeping the birth rate in the mid-30's rather than in the mid-40's, as in the present-day developing nations.